The Lou Messugo Blog - life in the south of France from a British/Australian TCK's perspective, bringing you French culture, travel on the Côte d'Azur and beyond, expat issues and a little bit of je ne sais quoi all mixed up with a hefty dose of photography.
One of the things I love most about living in my little town is the diversity of its inhabitants. This is not a rural backwater where I’m the only foreigner; far from it. There are 11 nationalities in little son’s class in the local primary school and big son’s best friends are Maltese, Danish and Canadian. But nothing highlights this better than the annual Christmas event “Noëls du Monde”.
Every year the foreigners of Roquefort les Pins put together a display of the Christmas traditions, particularly culinary, from their countries. Over the years there have been stands from Haiti, Poland, Italy, New Zealand, Croatia, South Africa, Ireland, Lebanon, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, the Philippines, Australia, Colombia, Romania, Peru, USA and Great Britain. There are also stands from different regions of France, which is where I first came across the tradition of the 13 desserts in Provence.
Originally Noëls du Monde was aimed at school children and it took place during the week with classes visiting with their teachers to find out about Christmas traditions around the world, but it has become so popular that it is now on the weekend. I’ve helped out on the British and Australian stands and have spent very enjoyable days eating my way around the world, sipping Polish vodka, Dutch hot chocolate with rum and green ginger wine while trying to explain Christmas barbies on the beach mid summer in Australia to confused kids.
I remember one year there was a large roast chicken standing in for a turkey on the British stand covered in hairspray to make it look glossy! We had to spend the day making sure no one ate it. There have been rowdy Kiwis doing the Hakka and jolly Irish girls singing and dancing their Irish jigs, Aussies trying to play the didgeridoo and Swedish gingerbread house workshops. This year you’ll be able to try your hand at chocolate-making under the professional guidance of a Chef from the culinary Lycée in Nice and workshops in creating angels out of merino wool. If you’re in the area, pop in. It’s fun, you get to eat and drink some delicious and often unusual delicacies, perhaps learn something new and it’s free. It’s only small, very low key but who’d have thought such a small town would have such rich and diverse international connections.
Photos from the Roquefort les Pins website where you can find all the details for this year's event.
That's a fabulous idea. It surprises me here that teachers and communes in general don't get more out of the expat community. Introducing everybody to different Christmas traditions from other countries is not only fascinating, but as you say, delicious. We have a group in Boussac, AIPB, who hold Anglo-French events - our carol service with mince pies afterwards was last night - and that gets more popular every year. France has welcomed the mince pie! At every school my kids have been at, I've offered my services as an English expat who lived in Ireland for15 years to go in and sing songs from those countries, or talk briefly about them, but never any interest.
Sounds like fun. What a fascinating mix of nationalities you have in your town.